Beating The Dread of a Creative Block
A creative block is hell’s custom-made gifts to the creatives. You wake up one day, and your brain decides to quit and shut down without notice. And no matter what you eat, drink, or do, it still feels like you’re hitting the same broken switch over and over again. And we all know that it never really goes away entirely. It’s just going to be there rearing its ugly head at the most unfortunate times.
But, it might not always be a bad thing. As writer and artist Amber Rae beautifully put it, “The Resistance is there, signaling how meaningful the pursuit we’re about to embark on is. The invitation is always to show up, no matter how you feel in the moment.” The creative block may be brutal, but they always force us to grow and be better. And even if they always feel terrible, there are always some tips and tricks to kick that creative block’s butt.
1. Don’t take it too hard on yourself
As Rae noted, a lot of creatives, whether they’re far ahead in the field or just starting out, feel ashamed of getting a creative block. It stems from fear of being judged, being looked down upon, feeling inadequate and a lot more. And a lot of us beat ourselves up over this. But it’s something one can say is natural and none of us can avoid it. What you could do is take it as a learning opportunity. Instead of thinking “I’m not getting anywhere,” try “maybe it’s time to switch things up” or “What could I change?” From that, you could start with a clean slate on what to do next. And even if the next thing fails again, don’t beat yourself up. Keep looking until you find what gets you up and running back.
2. Talk to a friend
It’s ironic to talk about hitting a slump when the reason you’re there is that you can’t think of anything to get you out. But, it would do wonders to let it off your chest. Remember, you are not alone. Everybody hits their own walls. Talking it out with somebody can let off some of your frustrations. And the conversation might let you dive into aspects of your creative block that you haven’t explored before. It gives you focus, and it grants you another perspective where you can get ideas and support.
3. Turn the tides on whatever’s holding you back
Creative blocks awaken other ugly things like fear, pain, frustration, anger and the like. And instead of wallowing in those emotions or memories, take them, squeeze them, and use them. Don’t think of failing or not getting what you want. Don’t think of having to do just one thing. Unleash yourself.
Your pain could blossom into beautiful poems and songs. Your anger could turn into your driving force to wake up and start kicking butt. Your fear could become an inspiring podcast or story. You could turn each of these negative things around, and you could bundle them up and use them to make something better. And you won’t even notice that you’re up and running in no time.
4. Look for inspirations every day
Every day gives us something different. And it’s time to take note of the little things that make your head churn. Even if it’s just a color, a quote, or a song, list it down. And if a random idea pops into your head, list it down as well. Consciously take note of these ideas no matter how terrible. What’s important is that you’re thinking, observing, and opening yourself up to millions of possibilities. Even if the ideas you thought of at the moment aren’t what you’re looking for to kill that creative block, it’s through these that you’ll eventually land on the perfect one.
5. Stop holding yourself back
It might be cliche but, JUST DO IT! Charge toward that door or that wall and break it down. Most of the time, once the feeling of dread mingles with our frustration with not creating any good ideas, the excuses start to overcome the reasons. Weed out these excuses and don’t let yourself fall to their feet. Pick yourself up and no matter how painstakingly empty that page is, take your pen and start scribbling. As said a while ago, even if it’s a bad idea, write it down. Keep going. Stop holding yourself back and allow yourself to just create. It might not be the most solid start but it’s better than nothing.
6. Allow yourself to really rest
Contrary to most of the tips above, you should also take time to truly and really relax. Take one night for a good night’s rest or even just have a 10-minute nap. Allow your head to cool down and stop forcing yourself even for a bit. Find something that relaxes you and allow yourself that. With all the stress and frustrations coming with a creative block, it’s easy to get overcome by them. And that won’t help one bit. Take time to yourself to reset and then get back to breaking that block.
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